Tributes are flowing for Anthony Bourdain, a celebrated US chef, writer and TV presenter, who took his own life at the age of 61.
Throughout his career, Bourdain took viewers around the world with his popular television series, Parts Unknown. The show launched in 2013 after he joined CNN in a move that many viewed as risky for both the network and Bourdain.
He was found dead in a hotel room in France’s Strasbourg, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his programme, CNN said in a statement on Friday.
Last year, Bourdain boiled down the main idea behind Parts Unknown for the New Yorker magazine: “I travel around the world, eat a lot of s***, and basically do whatever the f*** I want.”
The show featured meals in both out-of-the-way restaurants and the homes of locals, providing what the New Yorker called a “communion with a foreign culture so unmitigated that it feels practically intravenous.”
Bourdain visited the occupied West Bank and Gaza in 2013, showcasing local food and highlighting life under the occupation.
The Palestinians of Gaza have lost a good friend in Anthony Bourdain, whose integrity and basic human decency made his Parts Unknown episode on Gaza easily the best thing CNN has ever done on Palestine https://t.co/mdjHFTyDgP
— Tony Karon (@TonyKaron) June 8, 2018
— Sinan Antoon (@sinanantoon) June 8, 2018
He also went to Libya where he looked at life after long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
He concluded the episode by saying: “This is a place that’s filled with a lot of extraordinary people who have done an extraordinary thing on very short notice, under very difficult circumstances, and at a very difficult time – who are continuing to do the best they can, and I wish them well.”
He visited Oman and Lebanon in 2015.
It wasn’t his first time in Lebanon, where he had gone to shoot an episode of the show No Reservations in 2006. The show was interrupted by the outbreak of war between Hezbollah and Israel, but Bourdain’s love for Lebanon was cemented.
“There’s no place else even remotely like it. Everything great and all the world’s ills all in one glorious, messed up, magical, maddening, magnificent city. Beirut. It’s good to be back,” he said.
Also in 2015, CNN aired Bourdain’s show on Iran.
“I am so confused. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Of all of the places, of all the countries, all the years of traveling, it’s here in Iran that I am greeted most warmly by total strangers,” he said.
— Dr. Nina Ansary (@drninaansary) June 8, 2018
Bourdain’s profile began to soar in 1999 when the New Yorker published his article Don’t Eat Before Reading This, which he developed into the 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
He went on to host television programmes, first on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, before joining CNN.
“His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller,” CNN said in its statement.
“His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much.”
Here are some social media reactions to Bourdain’s death:
RIP Anthony Bourdain. He did right by Africans in his TV programs. Like this https://t.co/MZFGQYmXwo
— IG: @Africasacountry (@africasacountry) June 8, 2018
Black folks loved this man because he didn’t appropriate, when it came to us all he could do was celebrate. He told the world we were the center of Southern&Brazilian food and he let us speak for ourselves. #AnthonyBourdain was the John Brown of food media.
— Michael W. Twitty (@KosherSoul) June 8, 2018
#AnthonyBourdain covered the crises in Puerto Rico with respect- a reminder of what honest media can do- he gave a platform to food sovereignty work in PR & let all know US policies are starving our ppl to serve US corporate interests- his passing is a real loss -may he RIP🌻
— Elizabeth Yeampierre (@yeampierre) June 8, 2018
I’ve interviewed hundreds of celebrities in my time; #AnthonyBourdain is one of the few I ever asked to take a photo with. Thank you, Toño, for everything that you did. May you have found the peace that you sought in life… pic.twitter.com/a5DflCGevR
— GustavoArellano (@GustavoArellano) June 8, 2018
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies